LIRNEasia is a regional ICT policy and regulation think tank active across the Asia Pacific

ITU’s ICT price basket methodology is now more inclusive and representative

The Development Bureau of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU – BDT) took a significant step towards more inclusive ICT price basket (IPB) benchmarking methodology, last week. All member states will adopt the methodology in 2018. Our research manager Shazna Zuhyle led the sub-group which presented the recommendations at the Expert Group for ICT Indicators (EGTI) meeting in Geneva.
LIRNEasia research manager, Shazna Zuhyle (R) at ITU EGTI in Geneva, September 2017, where the new ICT price basket methodology recommendations were made

LIRNEasia research manager, Shazna Zuhyle (R) at ITU EGTI in Geneva, September 2017, where the new ICT price basket methodology recommendations were made

The ICT price basket
methodology currently used for mobile voice and SMS is the OECD (The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) low user basket from 2010. This represents a Western user better than a user from Asia or the African continent. A sub-group convened, under Shazna’s leadership, to address the issue raised on an online forum of the EGTI
IPBs have implications on country ranks and are the only global ICT price indicator at present. The natural impulse is to look at the benchmark and see how best the available data fits and how expensive a country’s services will seem in comparison. The disparity of consumption patterns from low income countries to high income countries is another challenge in formulating the recommendations. The sub-group gathered evidence from as many member states as possible before making the following recommendations:


  1. Select the operator with the largest market share
  2. Select the most common contract modality (prepaid/postpaid)
  3. Select the least expensive plan (standalone or bundle) that includes the following:
Mobile Cellular
  • Low consumption basket: 70 mins + 20 SMS + 500 MB data
  • High consumption basket: 140 mins + 70 SMS + 1.5 GB data
Mobile Broadband
  • Data plan of 1.5 GB minimum (irrespective of access device)


  1. Broadband: For the operator with the largest market share select the plan with a minimum 5GB data cap (and min. 256 Kbps)
  2. [Telephony: 90 mins local calls to fixed (unchanged, collected but not reported, therefore, it was decided to do away with this indicator as it was deemed redundant)]

See the full slideset

The recommendations were adopted following much deliberation with contributions from Cyprus, Korea, China, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, Portugal, India, Egypt, Sudan, Zambia, Uganda, Ghana, OECD and Research ICT Africa (RIA), among others Given the rapid change in consumption patterns with the increase of data use that spur Internet based calls and messaging (replacing traditional voice and SMS) it was also recommended that the indicator be periodically revised.


The Expert Group on Telecom/ICT Indicators (EGTI) gathered at International Telecommunications Union (ITU) in Geneva, 12-15 September, 2017


Research Mailing List

Enter your email for research updates:


Flickr Photos